Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence: A Review

DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover remains infamous for the explicit description of sexual encounters between a upper class housewife and a laborer, and eventhough it features among the top lists of the novels written in last centuty, like many others I started reading it with suspicision. What I found was a world with vividly described characters, a frank writing to the degree it talks about all aspects of human emotion, and sexual ones too. Unlike the mainstream writers before him, Lawrence writes a powerful and passionate novel, full of sensuality and natural bursts of energy. So in some respects it is a mature novel, but it if neither porno, nor as sexual by modern standards as it was made out to be in early last century. In fact, by present standards, it does not shock any grown ups, maybe can provide the shock shared by people in 1930s and 1940s to enthusiastic readers in late teenage or early twenties, or for someone whose diet was entirely Victorian before this.

So after you get through and over with your own the prejudices and the infamous part, you start to see why Lawrence is one writer from the last century you just should not miss. His description of nature, of forests, of people, emotions, thoughts and actions of both men and women, his references to class struggles, his lyrical style and most importantly the similies swept me off my feet. His words move before your eyes, recreating beautiful imagery, reconstructing (the infamous) Connie, the laborer Mellors or Connie's cripple husband Clifford as completely humanly, falling, fearless or failing, sexually charged or bored or incapable, imaginative, passionate or hateful, lively, lusty or invalid, very lifelike people! The choice of these three characters provides him the ideal meat to create such beautiful poetic, intense prose. So much so, that after finishing this novel you rush off to the store and find yet another Lawrence level. (Picked Rainbow, was equally delighted and amazed:), but that is another story)!

I think the most important part of this novel is the sheer brilliance of the style in which it is written. Poetic short sentences, with astute comparisons and frank expression, run from sentence to sentence, and sway you in a strong current of his writing, while you are not only enjoying the ride, but also noticing the beautiful, changing, evolving scenery that you encounter at each instant. This is indeed a rich novel, packed with a natural beauty of human emotions and likes and dislikes, with poetic fervor of the writer that will grip any reader with the beauty of his prose. Unlike most other famous novels, this novel is written in simple English, is short in length, readable at breakneck speed, though so charged and passionate that you have to stop to breathe every few pages, and very open and direct, and yet has exceedingly introspective characters, the progression of their thoughts and feelings are inetgral part of the novel.

Read it. Sexuality is no more than found on any adult rated movie these days. Beauty of prose one of the best of the authors of last century. If you have always loved 19th century authors, read most of the romantic classics by Bronte sisters, Austen, Dickens or Thackerey, read this novel and notice why Lawrence shocks and yet the brilliance of his work soon shifts the spotlight to his name into one of the most important novelists of last century.

An old review; written when I had read just one Lawrence novel. Now I think his other novels are more powerful and more beautiful than this most "infamous" one! Publised on amazon earlier!

1 comment:

Vivek said...

from sulekha

Vivek Sharma comments:
on Apr 21 2005 6:50PM delete this comment block this user
Thanks booky, chay, raja,

Rightly said: minimalist for plot, and plays with mind (flesh was only in Lady Chatterley's lover; in other books, it is mainly passionplay!)

Booky:) He wrote sons and lovers based on his story (so male perspective), but even there his knowledge of female thinking is incredible. He surely had keen eyes, and maybe his muse (or muses) told him a lot of really personal feelings.

I read this one in 2001, and the review was written long back (and posted on amazon)! Its easier for me to just copy paste blogs when I feel lazy to type something written recently:)!

Bookworm33 comments:
on Apr 21 2005 8:12AM delete this comment block this user

Lady chatterly's lover!!
and you are reading it in grad school. did a girlfriend put you up to it.? When I read it the first time.. was convinved it was fake...that is not a man writing...please...Now son's and lovers, thats a book written by a guy....and when you compare the two, youll see why..

Then i read Lawrence never conceptualised the book. a woman in his life conceptualized it and talked about this theme...the words are his but the idea ... well.. read it and see..who knows?

Please take all i say with a picnh of salt..Have been told I live in my wown matrix( altered reality)


chayalife comments:
on Apr 20 2005 10:50PM delete this comment block this user
Another great review...and since you like the book so much, watch the movie as well!! Make sure you get the one with Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep....of course, it does not justice to teh movie can ever justice to the books they are based on, but its definitely worth the watch!!
Now the hard time will be in finding the time...:-P


Raja_Raja comments:
on Apr 20 2005 7:27PM delete this comment block this user
vivek, I read this while i was in school, just for the kicks - if you know what I mean :)

excellent review. Lawrence was a minimalist for plot and delved a little longer in the flesh and hence the mind. I am not sure if I want to revisit him even after you made a compelling case.